T-Mobile's Latest Shakeup: Roaming-free Calling, Texing, and LTE Data Expanding to Mexico and Canada
The latest shakeup of the wireless industry by T-Mobile might be particularly exciting to frequent travelers, as well as people with relatives and friends they keep in touch with in Mexico and/or Canada. On Thursday, T-Mobile announced a new expansion of its first "Uncarrier" move, extending its Simple Choice plan to cover calling between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada for no extra charge.
T-Mobile is calling the initiative "Mobile without Borders," as it looks to challenge the U.S. wireless industry yet again through a recent series of upgrades under its "Uncarrier Amped" campaign. The change takes effect on July 15.
The latest expansion allows Simple Choice customers to use their T-Mobile phones in Mexico and Canada without international roaming charges, including text, talk and 4G LTE data. "Everything's covered," as the company's release put it, and there's no need to pre-purchase international plans before traveling. Once it's set up, T-Mobile's plan roams across those borders with you.
On top of that, calls from T-Mobile devices between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada are included in the plan, and will act just like any call within U.S. This includes calls to mobile phones or landlines in Mexico and Canada, which could be a boon for T-Mobile's outreach to Latinos looking for cheap calls to friends and family in Mexico.
"We know that 60 percent of (Latino) families that live in the U.S. have an origin from Mexico," T-Mobile executive Ximena Cuevas said in an interview with Latin Post. "Mexico is very relevant, the same as Canada, so we're just taking away the borders and making that one coverage area."
According to data from Statista, in any given month from the last seven years, over 11 million people live in a household that makes at least one phone call to Mexico.
(Photo : Statista)
"It's very big for Latinos," said Cuevas, who also pointed out that half of travel outside the U.S. is to the country as well. "Mexico is not only a place for vacations, it's a destination for business."
The company noted that over 70 percent of international trips taken for small or medium-sized businesses were to Mexico or Canada. T-Mobile is offering Simple Choice business customers the same North American roaming coverage at no cost for the first 10 lines, and $1 per month for each additional line beyond that.
Even as T-Mobile promises no hidden charges and fine print in contrast its competitors, there are still a few technical caveats to know about. First is that current Simple Choice customers need to opt-in to the program after July 15, before it takes affect on the individual level.
"Over 90 percent of our customers are on a Simple Choice plan," Cuevas said. "So all they need to do is call or go to a store, and you'll be activated into this new plan -- no extra fees, no nothing."
If you're not on one of T-Mobile's Simple Choice plans, you have two options to take advantage of full North American coverage: "Either you can move to a Simple Choice plan, or you can opt in... for $10 a month," said Cuevas. "You don't have to switch, but you can. ... But for 90 percent of our customers, you just have to call and let us know you want to activate this."
One other caveat is that while LTE data will be available in Canada and Mexico, the extra LTE allotments customers build up through T-Mobile's "Data Stash" program (which works like a rollover plan for mobile data) will not be available to use in Canada or Mexico . . . yet.
"It's coming, but not today," said Cuevas, saying it would be available later this year in October.
The "Mobile without Borders" expansion takes place at a time when AT&T is expanding in Mexico through tower rentals and acquisitions, a strategy that T-Mobile CEO John Legere poked fun at in his company's announcement:
"After spending billions buying up Mexican telecoms, AT&T's CEO is promising 'the first seamless network covering Mexico and the U.S.,' something 'unique' that 'nobody else will be able to do for the consumer,'" Legere said. "So much for that. They won't be the first. And they won't offer Canada for free."
T-Mobile is offering this cross-border expansion without roaming fees for customers through partnerships with mobile carriers in Mexico and Canada, though Cuevas declined to detail any specifics of those deals.
"We've done this the Un-carrier way," said Legere in his announcement. "Reaching across borders, partnering with leading providers offering the best LTE networks, creating a simple solution right now -- then not charging a penny more for it."
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!